By Tim Schmeckpeper, Assistant Principal
Our top priority is ensuring a safe, secure environment for all students. An integral part of our training for faculty & staff throughout the year involves the safety and security of D’Evelyn students and staff. The successful management of a safe and secure school environment requires the support and engagement of all members of the D’Evelyn community.
Within the first few days of school, teachers will review safety norms and procedures with their classes. This is an important component of maintaining a safe, supportive school community and being responsive to student needs as they arise. Additionally, we will be conducting a lockdown drill each semester, a shelter-in-place drill in the second semester, and fire/evacuation drills every month.
The faculty and staff cannot solely sustain oversight of the wellbeing of all students all day, every day. We rely heavily upon the support of parents, family members, peers, and friends to let us know about students that may be struggling or present safety concerns. Any member of the D’Evelyn community -- students, parents, family members, faculty, staff, and administrators - should reach out to trusted adults if they are concerned about the wellbeing or safety of any member of the D’Evelyn community.
We have a talented, skilled, and responsive faculty and staff. We encourage all students and families to develop connections with D’Evelyn faculty and staff members, and to reach out when there are concerns. A brief review of the most relevant personnel follows:
-- We have three counselors: Rob Northway works with junior high students, Jon Watson works with high school students with last names A - K, and Molly Harrington works with high school students with last names M - Z. It is important to note that the Counseling team members support each other consistently; at times, when urgent matters or concerns arise, it may be most appropriate to contact the available counselor. Our counselors are available throughout the school day to support the various needs of students and families.
-- Our Social Emotional Learning Specialist, Suzanne Roberts, is a social worker by trade, and has extensive experience working with students struggling with social-emotional and mental health. She is an excellent additional resource among our school community.
-- Our counseling support staff, Sue Brown and Kim McSwain, are available to facilitate communication with counselors, social workers, and administrators as needed
-- Our administrative team is trained to respond to specific student needs as they arise. Please feel free to reach out to the appropriate grade-level administrator if you have concerns about your student - Tim Schmeckpeper works with 7th and 8th graders; Greg Kottcamp works with 9th graders, Dan Wille works with 10th and 11th graders and Jerry McWhorter works with 11th and 12th graders
-- Our Campus Supervisors, Kim Racine and Mike Dobrowski, work throughout the school day to ensure student safety and building security. They frequently take rounds throughout the school to monitor door security and to ensure that all students and visitors are appropriately accounted for.
-- We are fortunate to have the services of Deputy Greg Everhart of the Jeffco Sheriff’s Office. He is an excellent resource and a key contributor to the maintenance of a safe and secure school environment.
-- If you are concerned about your student by way of their performance in classes or in the extracurricular areas, it is often valuable to speak directly with the teacher, coach, or sponsor that is working with the student in that area. They will often bring unique insights and observations, and I encourage families to reach out to directly communicate with faculty and staff members as needed.
Additionally, any member of the D’Evelyn community may ANONYMOUSLY report safety concerns via Safe2Tell Colorado. Safe2Tell Colorado is a state-funded initiative program of the Office of the Attorney General in the Colorado Department of Law and it is already available, free of charge, to ALL (public, private and charter) schools and communities in Colorado.
We would hope that all our students would feel comfortable talking with a trusted adult about such matters; however, this may not always be the case and some may be reluctant to do so. With Safe2Tell Colorado, students can connect with a live answering point housed with the Colorado State Patrol -- 24/7. Trained dispatchers receive the anonymous tips and forward concerns to a local multi-disciplinary team, usually consisting of school officials and local law enforcement.
As a bystander reporting tool, those with information concerning school and community safety are encouraged to break the code of silence and report what they see, what they hear, and what they know. The most common tips received revolve around issues such as suicide, bullying, dating violence, and substance abuse.
Safe2Tell reports may be filed at http://www.safe2tellco.org, by calling 1-877-542-7233, or by downloading the Safe2Tell Colorado mobile app in the App Store or Google Play. For more information on the Safe2Tell program, please visit http://www.Safe2Tellco.org.
Please -- when D’Evelyn community members have a concern about the wellbeing or safety of any other community member, share that concern with the most appropriate trusted adult in the building or report it anonymously via Safe2Tell Colorado. Ultimately, the most important point of emphasis is that reports are made.
By Ralph K. Spencer, D’Evelyn Education Foundation Board of Directors
Lindsey Sustad, one of 64 students in D’Evelyn’s first graduation class, gave this graduation speech in 1998 and it is apropos for the 25th Special Edition of the D'Evelyn Jaguar Tracks. Parents, please take a few minutes of your valuable time to read this speech to your student(s) at the dinner table in the next few days. I believe you are obligated to share Lindsey's epiphany on the secret to D'Evelyn's success with your children so they will know ahead of time that their individual experiences at D'Evelyn will actually be part of a grand plan devised by our amazing founders. I hope her words provide some solace to those students who may be wondering if all the time and effort they put forth into their academics every single day is really worth it. I think you will agree with me that yes, it absolutely IS worth it. Thank you, Lindsey, for sharing your understanding of our incredibly successful school like no one else could.
“Teachers are constantly bombarded with the question, ‘Are we ever going to have to use this in real life?’ Earlier this year I discovered the answer. It was a surprising realization, but when it dawned on me, the entire philosophy of D’Evelyn made sense. In 9th and 10th grade, we took a variety of core classes in which our brains were loaded with basic information of the subjects. During those two years, I learned more facts, stats, and general stuff than I ever thought I would need to know. I sometimes got frustrated and often wondered where in the world I would ever have to know how to do any of this stuff. I mean, come on: An algebraic proof? Cause and effect essays? The periodic table? Little did I know the answer was right around the corner!
In 11th grade, while we were still being bombarded with knowledge, we were actually forced to use it. The periodic table came back to haunt me in Physics. I was also shocked that I had to use what I had learned in math the last two years to do my Physics homework. We had to write papers of significant length, including a few cause and effect essays, in American History and Physics. This also meant we had to use the grammar and language skills we learned in English in 9th grade. While this secret plot between the teachers had been going on all along, it wasn’t evident to me.
It became even clearer this year. Those algebraic proofs have taught me problem-solving skills I often utilize in other areas of my life. We are constantly making connections in Senior English to the books we read in 9th and 10th grade. With a knowledge base of American history from my junior year, my understanding of American government and economic systems has been accelerated this year. We, as students, have done less busy work and more thinking. Senior teachers have done less talking while we have been left to do more discussing. We learn by working and plowing through things on our own, using our acquired knowledge and critical thinking skills as our only tools.
From all of this I have learned that school actually does apply to ‘real life.’ The history I learned helps me to understand the newspaper I read every morning. I see physics and chemistry at work every time I do something so small as to open my refrigerator. But perhaps the scariest thing of all happened as I drove down the road listening to my radio. As I listened to the words of a popular hit song, I saw it directly relating to the book we were currently discussing in English. If that isn’t a real-life application, I don’t know what is.
As a graduate today, I feel confident in taking my first step into this ‘real’ world because of all the skills and knowledge I have acquired from my work at D’Evelyn. I, along with these grads, have acquired an educated awareness of how this world around us works. This educated awareness has given us the confidence and amazing acquired ability to make intelligent arguments in heated debates among adults. We can make connections between literature and psychology or sociology and international relations.
Taking D’Evelyn smarts to the streets is to understand and analyze the world with an educated view. Life is much fuller for one who is educated and aware. So the next time I feel tempted to ask the purpose of learning something, I think I’ll stop, trust the teacher, and look for the opportunity to apply the knowledge to my ‘real life’ world.”
The D'Evelyn Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) charitable corporation. The Board of Directors oversees the finances, legal issues and long-term strategic plans of the organization